Out of Darkness

Big House Butterfly Series:

Imagine you are sitting on the beach, broad daylight, just soaking up the sun. There is a slight breeze, seagulls squawk their pleas for a piece of bread, you can hear other people milling about in happiness. Then someone walks up to you shining a flashlight. That would be weird right? Like the light from the flashlight would be sort of dull and ineffective on such a bright and brilliant day. Now, what if you were in a cold dark place. Somewhere trapped underground, say a deep cave, where it is freezing cold and dank. You cannot see your hand in front of your face. You have been here for so long you have lost track of the days. Miserable and alone, you struggle against the strangle-hold of despair. Then, far off above you, in the pitch of the darkness blinks a flashlight. How beautiful is that light to you now?

Why it took so long for Scotty to shine the world might never know, but one thing is for certain two things are for sure: Scotty McDonald has a bright and shiny glow. Covered in dirt, he was pronounced dead at the ripe age of 16. It was a common case of death-by-incarceration.

As a teen he committed an act that took the life of another man, and culminated in him being put away for the past 30 years. It was violent, evil, and chaotic. A robbery gone bad. Time stopped for Scotty the instant he swung the bat. He describes it as the “tape-recorder of the universe slowed to a halt as everything narrowed its focus on that moment.” The man died instantly. That moment has played its self out in Scotty’s mind so many times in the past three decades it would be impossible for him to count how many.

Scotty spent many years early on chasing a high, fighting, and trying to escape the reality of the situation beating down on him. There were many dark days when his family was at their wits end trying to figure out what was happening to him. The tears shed, the hearts broken after being broken after being broken again. But he couldn’t make it stop. He was lost and alone, scared and confused, cast aside like human refuse what else was left for him. He was transferred repeatedly because of his bad behavior, no longer welcome at this facility, he was forced to go to another. This pattern seemed endless. Until…

Somehow, some way God took hold of his heart. Deep in his addiction and fear the flashlight shone in the distance. There was a glimmer of hope. That glimmer came ever closer until it shone, not as a tiny handheld flashlight, but shone as the power of a thousand suns, its blinding rays melting away the frozen hardness of his heart and replacing it with a brand new heart of flesh.

Scotty is now one of the most brilliant examples of what a man of God should be. Let me explain how. Scotty has an awesome smile, his eyes clear and compassionate. He is a leader in the Church community but cares not for any title or position, he simply loves the Lord and His people.

I have known him for a little over three years. Shortly after lI met him he was denied parole for the sixth time. Yet his faith never wavered. He was hurt, but still trusting in God. A few months ago he made parole, well he passed from stage one to stage two… or so he thought. He was lead to believe he had made it through stage one when he had actually been postponed. The parole board reviewed and summarily denied him. I think the denial hurt me more than it hurt him. His smile has not faded, his faith remains firm. He is far removed from the kid he once was, he knows that no matter where he finds himself, he is squarely in the middle of God’s hand. He finds comfort knowing that his time on earth is but a vapor, and something far greater awaits for him.

Now Scotty is the light shining in a dark place giving hope to those around him who are still fighting to find themselves in the cavern of confusion.

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